Internships are an integral part of the student experience at SIPA. Students in most two-year MPA and MIA programs have a degree requirement to conduct a relevant, eligible internship along with submitting completed paperwork to the Career Advancement Center. Some students may be qualified to request a waiver of their SIPA internship requirement through submitting the proper form and supporting documents. In addition, all students are encouraged to explore internships as part of their education and career development.
F-1 and J-1 students must obtain authorization from the Columbia International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) to undertake an off-campus U.S.-based internship that is a degree requirement. For F-1 students, this authorization is Curricular Practical Training (CPT); for J-1 students this authorization is Academic Training (AT). In addition, SIPA's Career Advancment Center (CAC) strongly recommends that F-1 and J-1 international students and exchange visitors receive the proper authorization from the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) for any internship done off-campus during their program of study, regardless if it is unpaid/uncompensated or paid/compensated, because of changes in immigration agencies' interpretation of unauthorized work and its impact on your future immigration plans.
Each year, SIPA provides a limited number of competitive internship grants to qualifying students to partially supplement the costs of unpaid or low-paying summer internships. Individual grants are advertised by the CAC early in the spring semester and all application deadlines occur in April and early May. The CAC strongly encourages students to begin both their internship search and internship funding search early and in the fall semester , as several application deadlines for other Columbia institute and external summer internship grants occur between December and March.
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is a matching-funds program that allows nonprofit or federal, state, municipal agency employers to provide paid internships for U.S. or permanent resident students when they might not otherwise be able to do so.